For most people, it would be fair to say that the first thing that comes to mind when considering what diamonds to buy, is the pure aesthetic nature of the stones. We all want to make sure that we can find the most beautiful diamonds in a particular price range, but that isn’t the only thing that you should be concerned with when doing your research.
Chief among the top priorities when shopping, is to make sure that you are getting ethical diamonds. Of course, a casual jewelry collector might not even know the difference between ethical and unethical diamonds, so allow us to enlighten you on the subject. Here is some of the key information regarding the understanding of ethical diamond mining in 2021.
● Ethical mining is the practice of operating in a mine that boasts good safety standards and protects its workers. Each individual country has the power to determine its own safety standards, and this generally depends on things like the size of a mine and the purpose of the mine.
● On occasions, the standards of a specific mine will be posted publicly for everyone to see, but more commonly, information about specific mines is hard to find and not always available for public reading.
● Generally, a mine deemed to be ethical will offer the minimum or above minimum wage for a labor worker in the specific country; any work performed for less than the minimum wage is not recognized as being ethical. Unfortunately, things like slave labor and child labor are still used in some unethical mines across the world, which makes trying to source the ethical sites even more important.
● There is no question that any mine of any size can have a negative impact on the environment, but equally, some mines are doing a better job of tackling and addressing the issue than others. You need to think about where the mine is located and what its primary function is. Unfortunately, at this current time, there are ‘Big Mining’ lobbyists and individual mine owners that are not particularly interested in being environmentally-conscious, but that is something that will have to change in the future.
● If you want to be as environmentally-friendly with your diamond purchases as you can possibly be, then the thing to seek out is produce that has come from an artisanal mine. Artisanal mines are the smallest operations in the diamond mining industry, often involving small groups or even single persons, using hand tools to dig out gems individually. This has the lowest negative impact on the environment thanks to the small scale nature of the mining, but once again, you need to be careful about the origins and working conditions of these artisanal mines as some countries will take advantage of unskilled and underpaid workers to do the digging, often with very few safety provisions in place.
Ultimately, the more interested and invested you are in the origins of your diamond, the more these companies will have to be held to account.